Why Are There Fruit Flies in My Kitchen Sink Drain?

Has this ever happened to you? You’re cleaning a dish in the kitchen sink and watch a tiny creature fly up out of the drain. Is that a gnat? Then you watch more of them buzzing around your kitchen. These irritating little guys are actually fruit flies. And if you’re wanting to know how they got in there and what can be done about them, you’re in the right place. 

Why Are They Here? 

Fruit flies live all over the U.S., and spread quickly. According to WebMD, “An adult female fruit fly can lay up to 2,000 eggs on the surface of anything that’s moist and rotting. Within 30 hours, tiny maggots hatch and start to eat the decayed food. Within two days, they’re all grown up and ready to mate.” Because they’re attracted to moisture and rotten food, they’ll frequently appear in your trash can, your old fruit and the kitchen drain, which is full of moisture and small bits of food. Occasionally you’ll see them come up out of the drain. This can be particularly bad if you have a somewhat clogged sink or disposal that drains slowly. This maintains more moisture and food waste that attracts these insects and lets them thrive and reproduce. 

How Bad Are They? 

When fruit flies move from a dirty surface to a clean one, they lug germs with them. This might include listeria, salmonella and even E. coli. All of these bacteria can lead to acute cases of food poisoning. 

What Can I Do About Them? 

Because of this bacterial exposure, keep your home’s surfaces clean at all times. Use a kitchen surface cleaner that destroys bacteria. Don’t reuse sponges that can absorb, retain and transport germs. It’s better to use paper towels and throw them away. 

Bug sprays can kill off the adult fruit flies but won’t kill the eggs. And you likely don’t want to spray insecticide all throughout your kitchen. Instead, put boiling water in your drain. Before bed, close off your drains with clear packing tape. In the morning, you can see some fruit flies attached to it. 

Here are other traps you can also use, all involving a jar: 

  • Wine—Pour an ounce of wine inside the jar. Add a hole in the lid so the fruit flies can get in. You can also use a funnel or paper cone rather than a lid. 
  • Old fruit—Same as above, but using rotten fruit in place of wine. 
  • Apple cider vinegar—Same as above but you’ll use apple cider vinegar. 
  • Apple cider vinegar and dish soap—Same as above with dish liquid as well, which makes it much harder for flies to get away. 
  • Yeast—Pour in two or three ounces of water, one packet of activated dry yeast along with a teaspoon of sugar. 

To minimize bringing in fruit flies: 

  • Wash your produce immediately after bringing it home. Occasionally they can have fruit fly eggs or larvae. 
  • Refrigerate as soon as you can. 
  • Avoid keeping old produce in your kitchen. Buy only what you’re going to eat. 
  • Empty your kitchen trash often, and keep it closed. 
  • Keep your surfaces clean and disinfected. 
  • If you prefer to keep windows up, make sure they have well-fitted screens. 

If the listed methods haven’t eliminated your fruit fly issue, there may be something wrong with your p-trap. That’s the part of your drain pipe bent in a u shape to trap water and prevent foul air from drifting up into your home. It also keeps flies from living in your pipes and flying up from the drain. If your pipe has a leak and has no water seal, this can produce a fruit fly problem. Run the water and check below for a leak. If you notice one, get it fixed right away. Leaky pipes can encourage mold and structural damage to your home. 

You should also contact a plumber if your kitchen sink or garbage disposal is draining more slowly than usual. This problem not only helps attract fruit flies, but over time the sink drain can fully clog and become unusable. The Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing plumbing team has the tools, experience and know-how to diagnose the problem and fix it quickly. We utilize a video drain inspector to obviously see what’s happening inside the pipes, and a number of methods to clean them, depending on the type and intensity of the blockage. If the problem is a garbage disposal, we can repair or replace it at a price you can afford. We also fix leaky pipes. 

If you need any sort of plumbing service at all, contact the professionals at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. Whether we’re warming, cooling or making the water run, we take great pride in keeping our customers comfortable. With more than 4,000 team members, we can deliver and innovate better than anyone. Our can-do family attitude helps us get the job done on time, and right—the first time. 

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